Yes, I know..it seems like a simple read that I probably should have read, I don’t know, 15 years ago? But here’s the thing, when I was a kid I got through CS Lewis’s “The Magician’s Nephew” and never made it any further. I know…it’s terrible. I’ve seen the movies (the super old ones) and the newer remakes, but as I’ve been trying to increase my reading I decided to go back and read the “classics” that I have missed out on for forever.
Obviously, this is a great read for kids and young adults. It’s fast-paced, the language is simple yet very descriptive, and there’s plenty of adventure suitable enough for young readers. It seems like a lighthearted read, but it carries heavy ideas and messages with it, for instance:
- Don’t hold grudges against people, it only makes you bitter and no one will like you.
- When someone wrongs you, forgive them. Doing otherwise could push them even further away.
- Everyone and everything is not what it may appear to be- know what it is you’re getting yourself into before you get into it.
- Don’t think only of yourself, but think of others before you.
- Never close yourself into a wardrobe for it is a silly, silly thing to do. 😉
As great as those messages and ideas are, the symbolism in such a simple story of adventure is a wonderful reminder and great anecdote to communicate the story of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for His people, as well as other important Christian doctrines. You have a child, Edmund, who unknowingly betrays Aslan, the messenger of the Emperor across the Sea. The Deep Magic from before time requires that his betrayal be paid for with his life being given over to the White Witch (representation of Satan), but Aslan (Jesus) will not allow that, so He sacrifices Himself as payment. He comes back to life because of older magic of the Narnia-universe, that if someone that is innocent pays his life willingly in place of a traitor, it undoes everything, reverses death…therefore, the “sin” was paid for and life restored. Beyond the basic gospel ideas, it goes further:
- You cannot do anything on your own to save yourself or others. Salvation does not come through action, but in the faith of the sacrifice that’s already been paid (in the sense of the story…about to be paid).
- In the story, before Edmund has been redeemed, when they first find out the requirement of the Deep Magic, Susan says ” ‘Oh, Aslan!…Can’t we- I mean, you, won’t , will you? Can’t we do something about the Deep Magic? Isn’t there something you can work against it?’ ‘Work against the Emperor’s Magic?’ said Aslan, turning to her with something like a frown on his face. And nobody ever made that suggestion to him again.”
- You are redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, should you choose to accept it. There is no need for guilt for past sins, but the willingness and acceptance of moving on and obeying God’s will from that point on. Satan will try to guilt and scare you into doubting and distancing yourself from God because of past mistakes. Christ says you’re forgiven, keep your eyes on Him and don’t listen to any other voice.
- Again, right after hearing about the Deep Magic’s requirement…
- “But Edmund had got past thinking about himself after all he’d been through and after the talk he’d had that morning. He just went on looking at Aslan. It didn’t seem to matter what the Witch said.”
- “Edmund was on the other side of Aslan, looking all the time at Aslan’s face. he felt a choking feeling and wondered if he ought to say something but a moment later he felt that he was not expected to do anything except to wait, and do what he was told.”
- As in the Bible, the traditional requirement for sins before Christ would no longer be required. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for all sins, which was why the curtain separating the Holy of Holies was torn down the middle- the sacrifice was made for all, not just the Hebrews.
- After Aslan’s death- the Stone Table was broken in half- never to be used again for the purpose of killing one by the White Witch in punishment of betraying the law.
- Although Christ was Lord in human form, he did not act uppity towards anyone but more as an equal, with compassion and humility, but that does not mean that we should make ourselves as equals to him. If we count ourselves Christians, we should not run around acting holier than thou…He will humble us when we do.
- After Aslan has re-awakened the statues at her House, especially the other lion…”The most pleased of the lot was the other Lion who kept running about everywhere pretending to be very busy but really in order to say to everyone he met: ‘Did you hear what he said? Us Lions. That means him and me. Us Lions. That’s what I like about Aslan. No side, no stand-off-ishness. Us Lions. That meant him and me.’ At least he went on saying this till Aslan had loaded him up with three dwarfs, one dryad, two rabbits, and a hedgehog. That steadied him a bit.”
- As Christians, we have been given something we do not deserve. We should not get comfortable and be concerned about our own desires, but about sharing that gift with others for their salvation, too. With that, as we do share the Gospel with others in the world, don’t try to appease them or wait on them to make a decision or change. If they don’t accept it, don’t stop sharing, keep sharing with others, keep moving on because people are always dying. If we sit around waiting for 1 person to accept, hundreds, thousands, and millions are dying lost while we wait.
- After the battle: ” ‘Quick, Lucy,’ said Aslan. And then, almost for the first time, Lucy remembered the precious cordial that had been given her for a Christmas present. Her hands trembled so much that she could hardly undo the stopper, but she managed it in the end and poured a few drops into her brother’s mouth. ‘There are other people wounded,’ said Aslan while she was looking eagerly into Edmund’s pale face and wondering if the cordial would have any result. ‘Yes, I know,’ said Lucy crossly. ‘Wait a minute.’ ‘Daughter of Eve,’ said Aslan in a graver voice, ‘others also are at the point of death. Must more people die for Edmund?'”
- This one, many people may debate about, but it is a commonly accepted doctrine: “once saved always saved” but it takes it a step further…just because you’re saved doesn’t mean you should go around sinning up a storm because you’re already forgiven, but rather, in humility for receiving something you could never earn, represent it well and glorify Christ, the one who gave it to you.
- After the 4 have been crowned: “‘Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen. Bear it well, Sons of Adam! Bear it well, Daughters of Eve!’ said Aslan.”
“‘But do you really mean, sir,’ said Peter, ‘that there could be other worlds- all over the place, just round the corner- like that?’ ‘Nothing is more probable,’ said the Professor, taking off his spectacles and beginning to polish them, while he muttered to himself, ‘I wonder what they do teach them at these schools.'”
“Peter had the door closed but did not shut it; for, of course, he remembered, as every sensible person does, that you should never, never shut yourself in a wardrobe.”
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
“‘Here is your brother,’ he (Aslan) said, ‘and- there is no need to talk to him about what is past.”
“But Edmund had got past thinking about himself after all he’d been through and after the talk he’d had that morning. He just went on looking at Aslan. It didn’t seem to matter what the Witch said.”
“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been- if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you- you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”
“‘It means,’ said Aslan, ‘that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper stil which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards…'”
“‘Bless me! I’ve picked up the little girl instead. I beg your pardon, Missie, I thought you was the handkerchee!’ ‘No, no,’ said Lucy, laughing, ‘here it is!’ This time he managed to get it but it was only about the same size to him that a saccharine tablet would be to you…”
“‘Then in the name of Aslan,’ said Queen Susan, ‘if ye will all have it so, let us go on and take the adventure that shall fall to us.'”
“And don’t mention it to anyone else unless you find that they’ve had adventures of the same sort themselves. What’s that? How will you know? Oh, you’ll know all right. Odd things they say, even their looks- will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?” – The Professor.